If you thought an ordinary torch was not worthy of a review all to itself... well, you might be right. However, we've been playing around with a head torch that is anything but ordinary, excellent for this time of year. We test the Coleman CXS+ 250 Head Torch.
For those who aren't familiar with the concept, a head torch is a compact yet powerful light which straps to your head to leave you hands free to do whatever. Be it walking the dog in the winter, running at night, fixing the engine of a car, or cleaning out the spider-infested attic; a decent head torch is pretty invaluable.
But before you think, 'right, I'll just tape my bike headlight to my forehead', stop... and not just because that sounds both painful and mental. You see, the Coleman CXS+ 250 Head Torch does a lot more than simply shine light where you need it, as we discovered.
First up, the CXS+ features a fairly unique battery lock mechanism, which disengages the battery compartment from the main light when not in use. You pull the front section forward when you're done, and this disconnects the battery contacts, apparently prolonging the life of the batteries. Speaking of which, the torch requires three AAA batteries, which Coleman are kind enough to include in the pack. Which we always love.
The Coleman CXS+ 250 Head Torch features five modes of illumination, which you cycle through by pressing the top-side button. There is a red low-light mode, then low, medium, high, and very bright. Actually, watch this:
On top of that, the modes can be changed by simply swiping your hand in front of the torch, thanks to Coleman's KineSix technology. This is very handy, as although the button is not hard to reach and press, if your hands are busy doing something else it is an easy case of whipping them up to your face to change the mode. This is especially useful when running in the dark.
However, if you press and hold the button for four seconds, you activate the REAX light sensor. This means the Coleman CXS+ 250 Head Torch will automatically adjust the light level based on the ambient conditions. If you hold something close to your face (like, say, you're working with tools), the brightness will decrease and the width of the beam will widen. Without anything up close to you (such as when out in the open) the brightness increases, while the beam is narrowed.
And it works freakishly well and surprisingly quickly. We tested it by looking closely at a brick wall, then turning our heads out into the dark night street. Yes, we got some very strange looks, but we all just pretended to be surveyors taking measurements. We use that excuse a lot.
As the nights get darker, a head torch like this is wonderful. Even if you have no plans to run at night, or do any work in dark conditions, having one hanging up by your back door for taking out the bins or walking to car can be a big help. Check it out.